Viola Davis is an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy award-winning actress, but some fans are having trouble looking past her portrayal of former First Lady Michelle Obama in the new series The First Lady. Viewers seemed particularly distracted by the way she pursed her lips while in character.
Fans took to Twitter to voice their opinions, with one user tweeting, “They set Viola Davis up by allowing her keep her mouth that way throughout the filming. It’s so cringey and distracting.”
Others likened her performance to a parody. “I love viola davis but I cant take this First Lady thing seriously. The mouth thing looks like satire and she literally could’ve done without doing it the whole time. That’s not how Michelle always looks or talks anyways,” another user said.
However, some fans came to the How to Get Away with Murder actress’ defense. One Twitter user commented, “Michelle Obama appears to have an anterior open bite that Viola Davis is trying to replicate in her performance along with how she purses her lips. Both women are beyond gorgeous, brilliant, and amazing so leave them alone. Please and thank you.”
Davis told Vanity Fair recently that she studied Obama by listening to her podcasts “over 100 times” and watching numerous videos of her. “So what I really wanted to do with my performance was to protect her, to honor her, and not be the perception that black women are angry and hostile,” Davis said.